Historic Moments and Exciting Times for Education

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 3, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Bakersfield Sunrise Aug 3 2019

After being gone for an entire week, I enjoyed Bakersfield’s beautiful sunrise while walking Neo this morning.

Gavilan College Lends a Helping Hand

In the aftermath of another senseless tragedy, this time in Gilroy, California, one community college offered its resources to help victims and families feel safe.

Gavilan College in Gilroy offered one of its parking lots as a reunification center after a shooting at the town’s annual Garlic Festival left three people dead, including a 6-year-old child. Festival attendees loaded up in buses outside of Christmas Hill Park to meet up with their families and loved ones at the college, located several miles south of the location where the shooting occurred.

Gavilan College
Gavilan College
Photo from Wikipedia – By Loki733 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35150937

An article in the Gilroy Dispatch describes how the reunification center helped people feel less confused and afraid during this extremely traumatic experience.

While there are individuals in this world driven by their extreme ideologies to hurt and divide us, the way people respond after these tragedies reminds us that the human impulse is to help and support each other when times are desperate.

In the wake of this tragedy, Dr. Nicky Damania sent an email to campus faculty and staff.  Here is an excerpt:

At these times, community acts of violence can be hard for a lot of individuals. If you or a fellow colleague is having difficulties coping with the recent event, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here to help KCCD employees. During this difficult time, we want to make sure everyone is aware of the EAP resources that may be helpful to those impacted in any way. These resources are available to employees and anyone who lives in their household. Services provided by the EAP are always confidential and never shared with your employer. ….

Additionally, if you notice changes in student/classroom/group behavior, attendance, or interactions, (or someone who may need some extra assistance), please let me know, so we can reach out to your class or certain individuals. Also, inform your students that BC does have Mental Health Providers who can assist them personally. Students can schedule to meet with a counselor by scheduling an appointment at the Student Health and Wellness Center .

Sadly, these are real threats we must face and the reality is that it can happen to anyone – in any place – even familiar places and community. Keeping our students, faculty, staff, and community safe is an ongoing and constant effort at Bakersfield College. It requires constant awareness, understanding, and progress. We must also remember that our campus is an open institution and we are an integral part of our community. Active shooter training cannot be a taboo subject; we must engage with the best practices, the drills, the exercises, and we must be prepared. Such efforts can save lives.

During the upcoming flex week, please try to attend one of the Active Shooter Training Sessions if you can:

  • Monday, August 19 – in L147 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, August 21 – in L147 at 1:30 p.m.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this senseless tragedy.

NACIQI Supports ACCJC Expanding Scope of Accrediting Baccalaureate Degrees!

On Tuesday morning, I was part of the ACCJC team in Washington, D.C. at the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) meeting where ACCJC was supported in a big way. The NACIQI vote recommended ACCJC for renewal of its recognition by the U.S. Department of Education for the full 5-year period and to expand the scope of the agency to accredit baccalaureate degrees without limitation! Yes!

Sonya Christian, Richard Winn, Stephanie Droker, Mary Okada, Ian Walton
Sonya Christian, Vice Chair of ACCJC; Richard Winn, President of ACCJC; Stephanie Droker, Senior VP of ACCJC; Mary Okada, President of Guam Community College; and Ian Walton, Chair of ACCJC
Stephanie Droker, Mary Okada, Sonya Christian
Left to right: Stephanie Droker, Mary Okada, and Sonya Christian

The Bakersfield Californian’s Ema Sasic covered this in her article “Bakersfield College hopes to bring in additional baccalaureate degrees in the future.

Fun image of Ema Sasic that I found on Ema’s twitter feed

Thank you to all the individuals who worked hard for this and are making a difference for students now and for students to come. With the support of California’s Community College system, we can raise the baccalaureate degree attainment rate statewide!

While I was in DC, I made sure to walk the national mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial almost every day.

BC at the Interactive Policy Summit hosted by IHEP and AIR in Minneapolis

After Washington, DC, I traveled to Minneapolis… my first visit . The state of Minnesota is known as “the land of 10,000 Lakes”, and it was awesome to see some of these beautiful bodies of water in person.

Kylie Swanson and Lesley Bonds by the Lake

Aside from bordering Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes that sit at the border between Canada and the Midwestern United States, Minnesota is also the starting point of the Mississippi River, which begins at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and flows 2,320 miles all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

The city of Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, and there are 13 lakes and myriad creeks and waterfalls within the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The name Minneapolis is a combination of “mni”, the Dakota Sioux word for water, and “polis”, the Greek word for city.

In the heart of downtown Minneapolis, you will find the Nicollett Mall, where I also stopped for some fun photos!

Table 15 was a powerhouse at the conference

The reason for traveling to Minneapolis was for a select group of BC leadership to attend the Interactive Policy Summit hosted by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and Association for Institutional Research (AIR).

It was in early spring 2019, that Bakersfield College responded to a call for proposals to attend an interactive policy summit.  Through a competitive application process, BC developed a winning application detailing the ways college leaders, faculty, and staff utilize data to promote student success and affect policy change.  BC was selected by IHEP and AIR for our proven track record in utilizing data to improve student success locally, regionally, and statewide through the guided pathways framework. 

Attendees from BC included Sonya Christian, Senator Jean Fuller, Kylie Swanson, Craig Hayward and Lesley Bonds.

The BC crew enjoying great company at dinner – Kylie Swanson, Sonya Christian, Jean Fuller, Craig Hayward, and Lesley Bonds
Fun Times with the BC group enjoying donuts at midnight
Senator Jean Fuller, President Sonya Christian
Fun selfie with Jonathan Turk from American Council on Education

Harper’s Ferry

During my visit to Washington, DC, I visited my friend from high school and got to experience the natural beauty of Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park in person. Harper’s Ferry sits at the nexus of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, where the states of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia meet. The Shenandoah River is also mentioned in one of my favorite songs, “Country Roads” by John Denver.

Harper’s Ferry is home to John Brown’s Fort, a military garrison that abolitionist John Brown famously attempted to capture and use as a base of operations for an armed slave revolt in the Southern plantation states. A company of US Marines, led by First Lieutenant Israel Green, defeated Brown and his 22 accomplices on October 18, 1859, and Brown was later executed for his act of treason. Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry triggered a series of events that led to Abraham Lincoln’s presidential election in 1860, which caused the Southern states to secede from the Union and kick off the Civil War.

Harpers Ferry

Ken Burns Launches New PBS Series

Talking about Harpers Ferry and the Civil War reminds me of the world famous Ken Burns and his 9-part PBS series on the Civil War and his upcoming 8-part documentary on country music. If you’ve not yet seen the Civil War series, it’s available on Netflix and worth a watch.

  • Ken Burns
  • Ken Burns
  • Country Music A film by Ken Burns
  • Fox Theatre marquee
  • Young boy and girl playing fiddles
  • Young man playing guitar
  • Young girl singing
  • Ken Burns and friends

The pictures are from Mayor Karen Goh‘s Facebook posts.

Last weekend, it was wonderful to see so many from our community to hear Ken Burns at the Fox Theater for a special preview screening of his Country Music Roadshow and for some special performances. The film, according to Valley PBS, will “connect the history of country music to the larger story of America, looking at how artists and songwriting reflected periods of depression, war and cultural upheaval, and how radio and television later impacted the art form.” Bakersfield was fortunate to be stop #2 on the 30-city country music tour happening now leading up to the film’s release on Sept. 15 on PBS. The Bakersfield Californian’s Robert Price did an excellent post-show interview with Ken Burns and team.

Check out the audio interview with Ken Burns on Kern Valley Public Radio or check out The Bakersfield Californian’s “Ken Burns (and local children musicians) to take the stage at Fox for ‘Country Music.’

Also, I enjoyed the young Bakersfield talent. For example, listen to this young man perform Folsom Prison and you will swear it is Johnny Cash.

Bakersfield young talent performing at the Ken Burns event

Now let’s check out Johnny Cash doing the same song

Talking about Johnny Cash, here is Joaquin Phoenix singing my favorite Johnny Cash song.

Exploring Regional Priorities and the Work of Bakersfield College

On Monday afternoon, a team of BC’s leadership met for lunch in Delano with Dr. Kathy Murphy and Amanda Stayton, Legislative Aide to Congressman TJ Cox. The group gathered to discuss the work of Bakersfield College as it relates to the health, equity, and success of our region.  The conversation kicked off by exploring education, specifically touching on the excitement around Early College. Amanda inquired about what a typical day was like for an Early College student, while Dr. Murphy explored the specific pathways available.

Group sits at the roundtable for discussion
The group sits down for a roundtable discussion.

Steve Watkin was able to share a ton of great info about BC’s high school outreach and the tremendous impact it has had on incoming students around BC’s service area. Abel Guzman highlighted the incredible students who have overcome significant barriers to attend BC, especially in our rural areas. Norma Rojas-Mora led the discussion about the network of partners supporting the HEAL Health Equity and Learning Collaborative.

Dean of Instruction, Jessica Wojtysiak, shared the care and commitment that goes into each and every student through the development and structure of the completion coaching communities at BC. The lunch gathering ended with a special tour of the Delano campus led by Carolina Madrigal and Jaime Lopez, two amazing people who support BC’s rural students. Abel Guzman shared with me that Dr. Murphy also brought a sampling of books from the Library of Congress, which she hopes will be a fantastic resource for our students.

Special thanks to Dr. Murphy and Amanda Stayton for visiting Bakersfield College, supporting students in Kern County, and sharing in our excitement for the great things happening.

See all of the Delano lunch photos on BC’s Smugmug

Students Attend a Youth Empowerment Conference at UCLA

Earlier this summer, student leaders from Latinos Unidos Por Educación and Project Conexiones Estudiantiles de Bakersfield College attended the 12th Annual Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference (IYEC), hosted by UCLA’s AB540 Project and IDEAS.

The goal of the IYEC is to serve as a mechanism to empower students to become leaders of their communities. It was an educational day-long event open to community college and high school students, educators, allies, and community leaders in an effort to raise awareness about the urgent issues that impact the immigrant community. 

  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students

Through keynote speakers, dynamic workshops, and interactive activities, the conference educated and empowered attendees with a platform to understand and navigate the legislation process, financial and legal resources, mental health services, and the complex intersectionality within the immigrant community and student activism.

After the IYEC, students enjoyed their evening by relaxing and having fun at the Santa Monica Pier.

More than 1,500 students attended the conference and left UCLA with renewed confidence in themselves, having developed a wider network of supportive colleagues throughout California’s colleges/high schools, and learned how to effectively advocate for social change within their communities and respected campuses.

Thank you to Manuel Rosas for sharing the details of this wonderful conference!

Erin Auerbach on Rural Initiatives

This week, BC Journalism professor Erin Auerbach wrote about our Rural Initiatives program in Bakersfield Life Magazine.  In the article, she explains how our Rural Initiatives program makes higher education more accessible to all areas of Kern County, such as Delano, Shafter, Wasco, Arvin, and McFarland.  Increasing educational services in rural communities has been one of my main focuses since I became president in 2013. By providing access to quality education for all of Kern County’s students, our city and county will continue to grow and thrive well into the future.  Thank you Erin for writing such a great piece on the work BC is doing in our rural communities.

Erin Auerback on Rural Initiaitves Bakersfield Life pg 1
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Erin Auerback on Rural Initiaitves Bakersfield Life pg 2
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Read Erin’s entire article on Bakersfield.com

For even more about the Rural Initiatives program, check out some of my previous blog posts:

Bakersfield Construction Jobs Need Building

According to a recent article on TurnTo23.com, there’s a construction worker shortage in Kern County.  With so many job openings that are going unfilled, many local construction companies fear they could lose business to companies in other cities.

That’s where Bakersfield College comes in.

Carlos Medina
Carlos Medina

BC offers many construction courses, including welding, HVAC, construction management, and architecture/industrial drawing. Job Development Specialist Carlos Medina says a lot of these programs are 50% classroom, 50% hands-on, and 100% employer-related.  These specialized courses are just what the community needs to build the necessary skill set and fill these construction job openings.

Recent Bakersfield College graduate Britnee Gamble completed her Associate’s degree at BC. Now, as an employee at JTS Construction, she’s going back to school to get more construction design training.  I am so proud of the work BC is doing to instill this type of forward-thinking initiative, which will provide our local workforce with the proper education and training to be gainfully employed for years to come.

Read the entire article on TurnTo23.com

Fun Photos

The Future Home of BCSW

This week, modular units were spotted arriving in southwest Bakersfield at the new location of the BC SouthWest colocation at CSUB. It’s an exciting time to be in Bakersfield!

VP Rice on the Beach

Even Vice Presidents need a day off every now and then. Check out how Vice President of Instruction Billie Jo Rice spends her day off at the beach.

Billie Jo Rice and dog
Billie Jo Rice and friend

Ruben Rosales

Caroline Walth sent me this incredible letter that was written by Ruben Rosales, who is retiring from BC after 23 years as a custodian with M&O.  Ruben gives some wonderful advice about how to succeed as an employee at BC and, most importantly, how to be a good example for our students.  The letter ends with Ruben’s recommendation to always follow the three Ps: priority (job first), punctuality (be on time), and performance (do your best).

Thank you for all your years of service and hard work, Ruben!  You are BC!

Fun photo – my high school — Mount Carmel Convent

Photo of Mount Carmel Convent taken by Sydha Salihu Dec 27 2018

Seen on Facebook: Shawn Newsom

BC is fortunate to have such incredible faculty like Shawn Newsom who teaches history at BC for our Inmate Scholars program. The note below is a testament to committed faculty who care for our students and want to make learning fun, engaging, and something that can change their life.

Shawn Newsom letter from prisoner

Letter to the Editor: Congratulations to Bakersfield College

I saw a wonderful letter on Bakersfield.com about the Performing Arts Department’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”  Martha Ingle of Shafter was overjoyed with the amazing performance and hard work of the cast and crew.  It warms my heart when members of the community who went to BC share how proud they are to be a Renegade.  We are BC!

Read the letter on Bakersfield.com

Football Season Tickets on Sale Now

Come join us this fall for another exciting season of Renegade Football. 2019 Renegade Football season tickets are now on sale. Tickets range from $35 to $60 for the season and can be purchased on-line at Vallitix.com or by calling 661-322-5200 or in-person at the Bakersfield College business office.

2019 Bakersfield College Home Football Schedule

9/7      vs.  Mt. San Antonio College – 6 PM (Tailgate Theme: Tri-Tip Kickoff Classic)

9/28    vs.  Golden West College – 6 PM (Tailgate Theme: Fiesta Night)

10/19    vs.  Ventura College  *Homecoming* – 6 PM (Tailgate Theme: Deep Fried Heaven)

10/26  vs.  Long Beach City College – 6 PM (Tailgate Theme: Wing Knight)

11/16    vs.  College of the Canyons – 6 PM (Tailgate Theme: Patriotic American Salute)

Come See The New Turf!

The Renegades open up the 2019 season at home on Saturday, September 7th against Mt. SAC at 6pm at Memorial Stadium. This will be the first time the team will play a game on the new field turf that was installed in the stadium this summer. This will be the first season in Renegade football history that the Renegades will play their home games on field turf.

Football Media Day

Come join the Renegades in kicking off the 2019 football season with Football Media Day on Wednesday, August 14th at 11:30 am at Memorial Stadium. This will also be the first opportunity for the public to view the new artificial turf installed this summer at Memorial Stadium. Those attending will be able to claim a free souvenir piece of the new turf (limited to one piece per person and while supplies last). The event is free to the public. Attendees are encouraged to park in the lot south of the stadium and enter the southeast gate. Speakers will include Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, Athletic Director Sandi Taylor and Head Football Coach Jeff Chudy.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

A Whole New World!

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, September 28, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Aladdin – A Whole New World
Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take, 
But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away

I had just completed one year teaching math as a faculty at BC when the Blockbuster animated movie Aladdin was released in 1992, right in time for the traditional Thanksgiving movie marathon. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the star attraction was Robin Williams doing the voice of genie and he was recognized both at the MTV awards and the Golden Globe awards. Most of you who know me know that Robin Williams, by far, is my favorite movie star and it was a tragedy losing him so young. But it spotlighted the fragility of the human mind, and his passing had a positive impact in diminishing the stigma associated with mental illness. The New York Times had 14 pictures of Robin Williams organized as a slide show when he passed. Check it out.

So, of course, when the 2019 live-action remake of Disney’s “Aladdin” came out with another of my favorites, Will Smith playing genie, I had to go check it out. Here is my favorite song done by Will Smith from the film!  The movie was directed by Guy Ritchie, an English filmmaker who is probably best known for the late ’90s heist movies “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” Ritchie was also married to Madonna for a period of time.

I loved Robin Williams rendition of the genie and did not want to go to the movie being super critical of Will Smith. As it turns out he was good. The genie character is an essential part of the Aladdin mythology since the folk tale was added to “The Book of One Thousand and One Nights” in the 18th Century. Genies, or jinn, are supernatural beings that many Arabs worshiped and feared before the dawn of Islam in the 7th Century AD.

When Antoine Galland created the first European translation of “The Book of One Thousand and One Nights” in French, he added the story of Aladdin to his translation based on a tale he heard from a Syrian storyteller named Antun Yusuf Hanna Diyab. Galland translated the Arabic “jinn” into “genie”, and European readers imagined the guardian angels and muses from their mythological traditions instead of the ancient creatures made of fire and air that the Quran describes.

In Disney’s 1992 rendition of “Aladdin”, Robin Williams portrays the genie as a slapstick trickster inspired by American vaudeville and performers like the Marx Brothers. Will Smith continues with this comedic portrayal in 2019, bringing a more contemporary coolness to the character. Check out this great video showing the amazing impressions that Robin Williams did in the film.

BC Presents at eLumenation Conference

BC’s Amber Hroch, Kimberly Nickell Kristin Rabe, David Greenfield and Bill Moseley attended and presented at the eLumenation User Conference in Pasadena July 17-18.  The 2-day conference included panel discussions on innovation; colleague presentations, sharing experiences across a variety of topics including designing innovative curriculum, connecting instruction and student support, promoting student equity, and facilitating institutional change; partner presentations on integrating resources; and eLumen User Experience, and hands-on workshops covering a variety of topics on the applications of eLumen in curriculum, catalog, assessment, and program review. The conference even included a totally awesome 80’s themed get-together.

Amber Hroch, Kimberly Nickell, and Kristin Rabe

Bill Moseley presented with Matt Coombs, MS, Chief Operating Officer, eLumen, on An Integrated Approach to Catalog Management. The emphasis of the presentation was on updating and publishing the catalog and how eLumen can take what is often a labor-intensive process and turn it into a seamless step in the curriculum process.

Amber, Kristin, and Kim presented Closing the Loop: Using Institutional Research to Provide a Driven Approach to Program Review. The focus was on data and how it is incorporated into the annual Program Review process to provide a foundation for a narrative for planning future needs to improve student learning and success and the Closing the Loop, illustrating how resource allocation is connected to BC’s Strategic Goals and drives planning for future change.

Amber, Kristin and Kim presenting

State of the City Video

In my blog from last week, I shared the annual State of the City luncheon highlights. Here is Norma Rojas-Mora representing BC in a video put together by Dignity Health.

Community Voices: Bakersfield is what you make of it

This week, BC Journalism professor Erin Auerbach wrote a Community Voices about living in the place we call home. She explains the common misperceptions and bad rap are somewhat understandable, but she also shared the love and excitement that comes with each day. She says “In Bakersfield, I wake up every morning excited for the challenges of the day. This is easy to do when you work for a place like Bakersfield College, which is so fully invested in raising up the community with early education partnerships, an inmate scholars program, collaborations with Cal State Bakersfield to ensure students graduate from both schools in four years and rural initiatives to provide learning, trade and skill development opportunities to underserved people and areas.” 

BC is fortunate to have such incredible faculty like Erin, who love their job, love their community, and love their students.  Check out Erin’s writing at The Bakersfield Californian.

Early College Leadership Workshop

On Thursday morning, a group of BC’s incredible staff gathered in the Levan Center for a presentation on Early College and supporting our High School Renegades to and through college! The presentation, led by Kylie Swanson, Ashlea Ward, and Steve Watkin reviewed topics like orientation, multiple measures, and keeping students on the most efficient and affordable path to a college degree. Thank you Earl Parsons for the photos!

Steve Watkin
Steve Watkin
Kylie Swanson
Ashlea Ward Graham

Washington Post Article Garners Bakersfield National Attention

Earlier this week in an article by Washington Post reporter Scott Wilson he wrote a national news story about the exponential growth and changing demographics in Bakersfield.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I highly recommend taking a look!

As millennials continue to be priced out of coastal regions, the article describes how Bakersfield and other cities in the Central Valley are transitioning from the butt of jokes from late-night talk show hosts to ideal destinations for young urban professionals. The article quotes representatives from the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, the local tourism bureau, and assistant city manager detailing the revitalization of the downtown area over the past decade and how our community is changing to become more welcoming to the tech industry and large corporations while maintaining the strength of its agricultural and petroleum sectors.

BC Hosts Chevron STEM Academy Camp

The Chevron Summer STEM Academy is coming close to the finish line, with only two more camps left for the season.  Last week, middle school students got hands-on experience designing houses. This week, high school students got the chance to participate in the architecture and design camp, utilizing all of their knowledge in STEM to build tiny houses using computer programs. The last camp of Summer 2019 will take place at the Weill Institute and focus on alternative energy.

Once again, I’d like to thank Chevron, Project Lead the Way, and the Industrial Technology Department here at BC for providing this important space for young people to develop a passion for STEM. Take a look at all of the great photos so far!

CTE Students Placed in Summer Internship Program

Career and Technical Education placed 9 welding interns this summer at Lower Loop Canyon Ranch in Keene, CA. These students were selected by their instructor, Jeremy Staat, to participate and apply what they have learned in class to the real world. Their project is set to be completed by the end of this month and the students are already seeking additional work on the property.  Way to go, Renegades!

Information Technology 2019 Retreat

BC’s IT department celebrated their annual retreat day with team building and activities for the IT staff last week! The day’s activities included teams building 1/12th scale models of some of the rooms in the library out of cardboard, competing to solve a series of lateral puzzles, as well as competing in corn hole (bean bag toss).  Each employee was asked to share out information about themselves so team members would be able to get to know each employee better. The day ended with a rousing round using a Kahoot to see how much they learned about their peers.

This special day full of team building exercises is a great experience for our IT department. Special thanks to Todd Coston for planning the various activities.  Check out all of the videos from the day in this google drive account

Measure J Updates

BC has been hard at work this summer, particularly on the Memorial Stadium, Vernon Valenzuela Veteran’s Resource Center and the Campus Center.  The construction teams have been busy demoing and then building from the ground up. I’m very excited for our students to see the progress when they return in the Fall.  Also, don’t worry Renegade football fans! The stadium will be ready to play on in time for our first home game in September. 

Thanks to Manny De Los Santos for putting together the awesome video below to highlight the Veterans Resource Center and Campus Center construction!  You can see all of the current Measure J projects that are in progress and their details on the A Better BC website

First Inaugural STEM Workshop 

BC held its first ever STEM workshop for incoming students at the AERA STEM Center this week. This inaugural event was planned by STEM counselor Laurel Mourtzanos. Dr. James McGarrah (Professor of Chemistry) spoke about “STEM Readiness” and Marisa Marquez (Transfer Center Director) provided information about “Planning the Perfect Transfer” and “Transfer in 2.” We also had Leo Ocampo (Educational Advisor) who provided information about the “Finish in 4” program. The attendees learned about the many resources to support STEM students as well opportunities for campus involvement, including the MESA program.  Thank you to Manny Mourtzanos for sharing, and I can’t wait to see what happens at the future workshops! 

CVHEC Workshop for Dual Enrollment

On Monday, July 22, 2019, BC’s Billie Jo Rice and Steve Watkin joined KCCD’s Trudy Gerald and Bonita Steele at the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC)’s one-day workshop in Clovis to discuss Best Practices and Strategies for Dual Enrollment. The CVHEC is a non-profit organization comprised of 27 accredited public and private colleges, universities, and community colleges that serves over 250,000 students in the Central Valley, and nine-county region.

Billie Jo Rice, VP of Instruction; Bonita Steele, Director, Career Pathways & Highs School to College Transitions Programs (KCCD); Trudy Gerald, Associate Vice Chancellor, Economic and Workforce Development (KCCD); Steven Watkin, Director of Outreach & Early College

North of the River 2019 Economic Summit

BC’s Tamara Baker attending this year’s North of the River (NOR) Economic Summit, presented by the NOR Chamber of Commerce alongside Amanda Frank of Dignity Health. 

Women’s Basketball Academies Bring In A Crowd 

This years BC Women’s Basketball Academies brought in a host of youth from throughout Kern County to participate in the first week-long camp. Attending campers were taught the fundamentals of the game by Head Coach Paula Dahl and her staff of assistant coaches and past players. This next week will be the Elite Academy aimed at athletes with a higher skill level. Thanks to Coach Dahl for welcoming the community to Bakersfield College this summer!

Jasmyn Rodriguez Headed to Cal Maritime

In front of a crowd on-looking summer basketball campers this week in the BC Gym, Renegade Women’s Basketball standout, Jasmyn Rodriguez signed her letter of intent to continue her academic and athletic career at Cal Maritime Academy in Vallejo, CA. Rodriguez was a key player in this last year’s team. We wish her the best and thank her for representing the college with pride the last two years.

Spotlight:  Paula Dahl

We are extremely glad to have Coach Dahl teaching and coaching in our athletics department. Coach Dahl is entering her 26th year as the coach of Renegade Women’s Basketball. As coach at BC, her teams have won two Western State Conference (WSC) championships and she has been named WSC Coach of the Year three times. She has coached one player named All-American Honorable Mention (Nakia Page, 2015) and had two conference MVP’s (Jausecca Cockeral, 2012 and Nakia Page, 2015). She has many players who have gone on to successful careers as attorneys, physicians assistants, engineers, nurses, teachers, coaches, professors, radiation technologists, school counselors and college counselors. Thank you Paula and Go Gades!

Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take, 
But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Recognition & Gratitude — One Proud Renegade Prez

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, July 20, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Celebrating BC Two Days in a Row

Bakersfield College had a phenomenal week of celebrating the diligent, committed, and focused work of BC faculty, staff, and students. The talent at BC is truly exceptional and the work ethic one of a kind. We are BC!

On Monday morning we started with a crowd of approximately 200 packing the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery on the Panorama Campus for a press event where Assembly Member Rudy Salas presented Bakersfield College with a check for $1 million from the state legislature for the second consecutive year. The 2018 funding kicked off the HVAC program at the Delano Campus, in addition to supporting rural educational efforts. This year’s funding will allow us to expand our baccalaureate program in Industrial Automation in Delano and our Early College programs in Wasco and McFarland. It will also allow for the creation and expansion of health career pathways in North Kern.

A group surrounds Assembly Member Rudy Salas presenting a $1 million check
A group surrounds Assembly Member Rudy Salas presenting a $1 million check. Sitting from L to R: Tom Burke, Romeo Agbalog, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Rudy Salas, Sonya Christian, Justin Derrick, Rob Cobb, Abel Guzman

Community Support means so much to the students, staff, and faculty of Bakersfield College. It is the support of our community which fuels our work and enables BC to do what it does. Thank you to our local educational, political, and community dignitaries who came in strength to support this work including Mayor Karen Goh, Senator Jean Fuller, Sam Moretti, Ricardo Delgetta, Laura Melendez, Pawan Gill, Michael Turnipseed, Joseph Lopez, Lily Agbalog, Alissa Reed, Melinda Hicks, Kevin Tallon, Robert Price, and from KCCD, Chancellor Tom Burke, Bonita Steele, and Trustees Romeo Agbalog and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.

Here is a short video that the Salas team put together. Enjoy!

2019 Dr. John W. Rice Awards Student Success award Completion Coaching Communities BC.

Then on Tuesday, a team from Bakersfield College was invited to Sacramento to attend the Dr. John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award Ceremony held at the Crocker Art Museum. The college is unbelievably honored to accept the award this year for our collective work supporting student success through Coaching Communities following the Guided Pathways model. The Dr. John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award was established in 2001 to honor a community college staff member, district, college, or program that has made the greatest contribution towards faculty and staff diversity or student equity.

Since beginning the implementation of Guided Pathways in 2014, BC has seen growth and improvement across virtually every metric at the college.  To get more students to complete and/or transfer – on time and without excess units – BC has intentionally designed an innovative, formal structure through which cross-functional teams of faculty and staff are responsible for advancing student success along defined momentum points. These teams, called Completion Coaching Communities, include BC faculty, staff and administrators responsible for ensuring each student is actively helped to pursue the most direct path to his or her educational goal while facilitating a swift and at-scale response to remove barriers.

Group of BC and KCCD representative around the award.
BC’s Outreach Director Steve Watkin, Director of Student Life Nicky Damania, BC’s Student Government President Samantha Pulido, BC President Sonya Christian, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley, Kern Community College District Trustee Romeo Agbalog, California Community Colleges Board President Tom Epstein, English Professor and Umoja Lead Paula Parks 

I am so proud of BC’s faculty and staff for their commitment to Renegades, especially progress in advancing student outcomes such as:

  • Closing the transfer-level English completion gap for African American Students: from 14% to 44%.  African American now students exceed overall rate of 39% for this metric.
  • Closing the Hispanic/Latinx gap in Associate Degree for Transfer attainment: from 61.6% to 67.4% of all ADT earners in two years
  • Improving completion rates for Hispanic/Latinx students from 26.8% to 38.6%
  • Improving completion rates for African American students from 32% to 39.8%

Special thank you to the team who nominated Bakersfield College for this very prestigious award and to the team who selected BC as this year’s recipient. BC’s attendees included: Steve Watkin, Nicky Damania, Grace Commiso, Kylie Swanson, Ashlea Ward, Paula Parks, Dezi Von Manos, Samatha Pulido, April Whitfield, Jordan Thomas, Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Chancellor Tom Burke.

Photos are available on BC’s Smugmug: Rice Award – Student Success Gallery  

Special thanks to the following media outlets for covering these events:

Bakersfield College Earns Student Success Award article clipping.
Bakersfield Californian article "Salas awards college with a $1 million check."
Rudy Salas Event covered by Ema Sasic July 16 2019
Page 2 of the Rudy Salas article.


Rudy Salas, Sonya Christian

Assemblyman Salas is a champion for Bakersfield College’s vision of educational equity in California, and we can’t thank him enough for having faith in our ability to make an immediate positive impact in the lives of Kern County residents with the support of “shovel-ready” projects.

Dignitaries on the dais during Monday’s press conference included KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke, Trustees Romeo Agbalog and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, BC Rural Initiatives Director Abel Guzman, Delano HVAC graduate Felix Dominguez, Assemblyman Salas, Senator Emeritus Jean Fuller, McFarland High Principal Justin Derrick, and Rob Cobb, Director of Categorical Programs and Special Projects at the Wasco Union High School District.

Agbalog spoke of the importance of vocational education in rural Kern as many traditional labor careers will be gradually replaced by automation. He then introduced a video about rural BC student Moises Marin de Luna, who was unable to attend the event because he couldn’t miss his shift in the grape fields. Moises was inspired by his brother’s educational journey to go back to school as an adult, and after taking one electronics class at BC with professor Michael Larson, he’s decided to pursue the Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Automation.

The stories of students like Moises are why we are working so hard to level the playing field for our students in rural Kern, and the support of leaders like Assemblyman Salas will allow us to transform the kinds of opportunities available in our county.

“This money will be used to help students like Moises reach the first or second rung up the ladder toward prosperity,” Agbalog said.

Salas praised the way that BC’s leadership team was able to break down its institutional needs to a granular level in order to allocate funding in a way that could make the greatest impact. He also spoke of the ways that education opens doors for new opportunities in people’s lives and the lives of future generations.

“It’s about you kicking open that door, but you can hold the door open for everyone behind you,” Salas said.

Guzman thanked Assemblyman Salas and the state legislature, as well as our industry partners, for supporting BC’s workforce development programs. He also detailed how our career and technical education programs create marketable career pathways that lead to jobs.

Cobb shared his excitement in partnering with BC to expand Early College offerings in Wasco and Delano, and Derrick talked about McFarland High’s preparations for the first Level 3 Early College program in the nation.

“At McFarland High, we know a champion when we see one,” Derrick said. “Thank you, Assemblyman Salas, for being our champion.”

Rudy Salas, Sonya Christian and BC Students
Rudy Salas, Sonya Christian and BC Students

See the photos from the event:

Individual Videos from Monday’s Event on BC’s Youtube:

More on the John W. Rice Award event in Sacramento

BC Students Jordan Thomas and April Whitfield

Jordan Thomas wrote this brief essay inserted below:

“On July 16th of 2019, myself along with other Bakersfield College staff and students attended the 19th annual Dr. John W. Rice award ceremony where Bakersfield College was awarded the Dr. John W. Rice award on behalf of student success. Dr. John W. Rice was a longtime educator, minister, coach and mentor in Tuscaloosa, Alabama Birmingham and Denver. Rice also served on a number of educational advisory boards, and was well known for his belief that education was powerful; as well as every individual deserves equal opportunity to an education regardless of race or background. Present at the award ceremony was special guest Condoleezza Rice, Dr. Rice’s well known daughter. Ms. Rice is an American political scientist, and is well known for serving as the 66th United States Secretary of State, under the George W. Bush administration. She was the second African-American Secretary of State, as well as the first female African-American in history to hold the position. As the award ceremony began a presentation of the 2019 Dr. John W. Rice award was presented breaking down the life, legacy, and obstacles that Dr. Rice encountered throughout his journey. After the presentation, special guest Condoleezza Rice would go on to give a heartwarming speech about diversity in correspondence to the power of education and how regardless of where a person has come from, their race, their religion, or their beliefs; education is a powerful tool that can bring individuals from all races and ethnicities to a common understanding. While listening to Condoleezza Rice’s speech, I couldn’t agree more. Rice stated that anyone can come from humble circumstances and still do great things. This statement resonated with me and I came to the realization that education is the most powerful tool in which it breaks a tremendous amount of barriers, as well as a magnificent tool that can be used to change the world. This speech gave me the motivation to continue my education because now I see how important of a tool it is to thrive in today’s society, regardless of my background.”             

BC Team with Condoleezza Rice

Thank you Nicky Damania for clicking so many photos.

Three Presidents: Dezi Von Manos, Sonya Christian, Samantha Pulido
Romeo Agbalog, Steve Watkin, Paula Parks, Ashlea Ward, April Whitfield, Grace Commiso, Dezi Von Manos, Tommy Tunson, JJOrdan Thomas, Samantha Pulido, Nicky Damania, Kylie Swanson, Sonya Christian
Teresa Aldridge (Umoja Board of Directors), Pamela Haynes (Board of Governors), Sonya Christian, Paula Parks

Bakersfield State of the City Luncheon

On Thursday afternoon, BC representatives joined community leaders at the Marriott for the 2019 Bakersfield State of the City luncheon. Joining me from BC was Dean of Instruction, Jessica Wojtysiak and Director of Community Relations, Norma Rojas-Mora, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Chancellor Tom Burke, Senator Jean Fuller, Congressman Bill ThomasBob Price, Jay Rosenlieb, and Lily Agbalog.

Sonya Christian with Mayor Karen Goh
Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Bill Thomas, Jay Rosenlieve, Sonya Christian
Bill Thomas, Jessica Wojtysiak

It was an enjoyable event to see the news and what’s in store for Bakersfield, hosted by Mayor Karen Goh. I was especially thrilled to see Bakersfield College included in the program, highlighting our growing enrollment, growing student success, and statewide leadership recognitions.

Norma Rojas-Mora, Karen Goh & Lily Agbalog

Thank you also to Dignity Health who included Bakersfield College in their most recent promotional video. What an exciting time to be in Bakersfield and what an exciting time to be a Renegade.  As Mayor Goh says, “We are Bakersfield!”

Robert Price, Jay Rosenlieb, & Tom Burke
Chancellor Tom Burke & Senator Jean Fuller

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Brian Sivesind and the BC Performing Arts Department are bringing the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” to life in the Indoor Theater this summer.

Actors sing with a colorful background.

If you’re reading this on Saturday, July 20, you still have a chance to catch two performances of this incredible story adapted by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1968. The matinee performance is at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and the final evening performance is at 7:30 p.m.

Actors perform song with hands in air.
Actors hold hands together over their heads as they dance.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” recounts the Biblical story of Joseph and his 11 brothers using music and lyrics. Joseph, played by BC student Jake Wattenbarger, is his father Jacob’s favorite son, and his brothers are jealous of him and his coat of many colors, as well as his prophetic dreams. The brothers attempt to murder Joseph but sell him into slavery instead, telling their father that Joseph was killed.

The Elvis Pharaoh on steps with singers.
Actors sing and dance around a quilt.

Joseph takes advantage of his gift for prophecy to break the chains of slavery and become a trusted advisor to the Pharaoh. By the end of the story, Joseph’s brothers are unknowingly begging him for food in the middle of a drought, and Joseph is reunited with his family (and his coat) once again.

Pharaoh sings on steps with other actors.

Thank you to all of the students for putting together such a beautiful performance, as well as Brian Sivesind for bringing this amazing production to our community. Thank you Jen Garrett and choir and Robby Martinez and the orchestra. What talent! What excellence! What hard work! After all, We are BC!

Very happy to have several community members come out to the musical. here are some photos I snapped.

Mikie Hay, Jean Fuller, Mary Madland
Dan Hay, Mikie Hay, Russell Fuller, Mary Madland, Romeo Agbalog, Sonya Christian
Romeo Agbalog, David Bynum, Meagan Bynum, Sonya Christian, Robert Price
2 adults and 2 children sitting in audience.
David Bynum, Meagan Bynum and family
Romeo Agbalog, Lilly Agbalog

Visit the Performing Arts Department for more photos.

Dress Rehearsal Photos by Michelle Guerrero.

Sounds of Summer: Drum and Bugle Corps

The sounds of marching band music reverberated throughout the Panorama Campus on Tuesday, with students from BC’s Golden Empire Drum and Bugle Corps practicing wherever they could fit in. There were drumlines and a horn section practicing on the lawn between the Administration building and the bus station, and students were setting up and performing with marimbas, gongs and a drum set in the square that sits between the CSS, Fine Arts and Engineering buildings. 

Snare drummers drumming.

Musicians come from all over California and even out-of-state to join the Golden Empire Drum and Bugle Corps, which BC offers as a Performing Arts class called MUSC B28. The group is made up of concurrently enrolled high school students, BC students, and students who attend other universities, BC Marching Arts instructor Tim Heasley said.

Students setting up drum sets in the shade of a tree.

During the summer, the group traditionally practices on BC’s soccer practice field across from the agricultural laboratory during the summer, but due to Measure J Construction projects, it has had to conduct the majority of its practices at North High School. When the offsite location at North High was unavailable on Tuesday, the group decided to make the Panorama Campus its temporary practice space.

Bugle player plays while another student claps and others look on.

The Golden Empire Drum and Bugle Corps is currently in the final stages of fundraising for money to return to the Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis. While the BC “Indoor” drumline took the world championship last year, the full drum and bugle ensemble made the finals in its first year competing in the competition.

Tuba players practicing in the shade.

“We have an amazing team of instructional staff and very dedicated volunteers that help set the students up for success, and we’re thankful to have a campus community that supports the hard work that everyone puts in to this competitive sport of the arts,” Heasley said.

Chris Glaser caught the drummers on video.

Published in Royal Society of Chemistry

Deborah Rosenthal with Renegade Knight
Deborah Rosenthal with Renegade Knight

Bakersfield College Chemistry Professor, Deborah Rosenthal, was published in the Royal Society of Chemistry earlier this year. She collaborated with Martin Cole and Michael Sanger, from Holyoke Community College and Middle Tennessee State University respectively to write the paper. You can read her paper at Two studies comparing students’ explanations of an oxidation-reduction reaction after viewing a single computer animation: the effect of varying the complexity of visual images and depicting water molecules.

Curriculum Institute

The BC team attended and participated at the Curriculum Institute in Burlingame, Ca. Jennifer Johnson, as a member of the California Community College Curriculum Committee (5C), contributed to 4 breakout sessions on topics including Training your Curriculum Committee, the Brown Act, and  AB705 implementation. Mark Osea, as a statewide general education reviewer, also presented on the topic of articulation and transfer. Billie Jo Rice and Jennifer Johnson presented the Program Pathways Mapper which is embedded in our new online Guided Pathways 2019-2020 Bakersfield College Catalog.

Jennifer Johnson, Billie Jo Rice, Linda Allday, Edie Nelson, and Erica Menchaca.
Mark Osea, Karen Daar Los Angeles Valley College, ASCCC Curriculum Committee, Aimee Tran, Saddleback College, ASCCC Curriculum Committee

Thank you Jennifer Johnson, Billie Jo Rice, Linda Allday, Edie Nelson, Erica Menchaca, Craig Hayward, Mark Osea and Brent Wilson for participating in the Curriculum Institute and working so hard on the curriculum at BC.

Veterans’ Summer Bridge

On Wednesday, faculty and staff led a group of military veterans who are incoming BC students through a tour of the main campus as part of the Bridge to BC. This intensive, one-day course is designed to familiarize students with the BC campus and prepare them for the college experience. Military veterans have a different transition experience than that of a recent high school graduate. As such, we give them a separate Bridge to BC tailored to their needs. It was a pleasure to see Trustee Kay Meek join the staff and faculty in welcoming our veterans.

In front of students and staff at workshop classroom.
Trustee Kay Meek at the Veteran’s Summer Bridge
Fun Videos: Summer Bridge

John Harte sent this video he recorded at Summer Bridge. We Are BC!

Saw these photos on Facebook. Summer Bridge goes to Delano.

Fun Photos

Executive Offices with M&O

Wednesday morning the Executive Office inhabitants were welcomed with sticky note from a member of one of our best teams on campus –  Maintenance and Operations. Caroline (Caro) Walth, our Custodial Services Supervisor left a welcome note on each desk for Jo Ellen Barnes, June Charles, Tarina Perry, Catherine Rangel & Jennifer Serratt. What a great way to start the day!

Iphone message "and when I got to work this morning, I was greeted with this note from one of our lead custodians- Caroline Walth. It already made my day!
Catherine Rangel, Caroline Walth and Jo Ellen Barnes

New Careers Education Site

Dean of Instruction, Cornelio Rodriguez shared some fun photos of the BC Career Education teams recent visit to the new KHSD Career Education site. The visit was hosted by KHSD Trustee Jeff Flores who represents Area 2 on the Kern High School District Board. Also in attendance was Scott Cole, Assistant Superintendent of KHSD and BC’s Director of Career Education Tony Cordova. It’s an exciting time to be a part of education in Kern County as these incredible resources come to life, inspiring our young people to explore and follow their dreams.

Summer STEM Architecture camp

Monday was a day of learning for mini ‘Gades who attended the Summer STEM Camp focused on Architecture. Presented by Chevron, this class taught students how to design and build their very own tiny home and inspired Kern County’s future architects to pursue a college degree to make their dreams a reality. Check out the fun photos captured by Earl Parsons from BC’s Marketing and Public Relations team.

Students at desks looking at computer screens with architecture plans.

Dean Mourtzanos

Manny presented our Early College model as an example of aBest Practice at the Enrollment Management Academy in Claremont

Dean Mourtzanos speaks in front of audience.

Registration Workshop

BC held two registration workshops on Tuesday and Wednesday to get students ready for taking classes in the fall.

Staff member listening to student.

Counselors and academic advisors worked one-on-one with students to sort out all of their registration questions and issues and get them enrolled in classes before the Fall 2019 semester kicks off on August 24. There will be one more registration workshop this month on Monday, July 29 at 8 a.m. in CSS 151. To participate, call the Counseling Center at (661) 395-4421 and ask to sign up for a registration workshop.

Staff member explaining things to students.

Student Employment Lab

The Office of Student Employment is hiring and is busy in the Student Employment Lab. Know of a student interested in gaining valuable work experience and building their resume? Send them over to the FACE 11 building or call (661) 395-4982.

Students must be enrolled in at least 6 units for Fall/Spring semester and 2 units during Summer. (Some positions may require Federal Work-Study)

On-campus and off-campus job opportunities are posted at: bakersfield.jobspeaker.com. To learn more about on-campus employment, check out:Bakersfield College Student Employment.

Athletics Updates

Congrats to Kobe Garner from Men’s Basketball

Renegade Athletics now has a total of 39 student athletes who have signed to continue their academic and athletic trajectory at the next level with this weeks announcement that Kobe Garner from Men’s Basketball has signed to play at Eastern University in St. David’s, PA. Kobe had a two-year run as a Renegade and we are pleased that he represented BC so well in his time here. Congrats and good luck, Kobe!

Kobe Garner Eastern University.
Sonya holding the Student Success award.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Summer in Quilon

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, July 13, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

US takes World Cup

So excited that the US Soccer team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup. They are such athletes and the games are so fun to watch. Rapinoe was the star power of course (on and off the field), but there was so much more. I particularly enjoyed the score in the final by Lavelle.

Sights and sounds of Quilon

I spent a few days last week in Quilon, Kerala due to family circumstances. I was back in my childhood surroundings …. So, I thought I would bring you a glimpse of the place where I grew up.

Ashtamudi Kayal

Monsoons in Kerala

Places in Quilon (Kollam)


I was out of town during the Independence Day weekend earthquakes, but the minute the first major one happened, the BC emergency response team was connected virtually and started managing the situation.

For those of you outside of California who follow my blog here is a snippet….. On Independence Day, a 6.4 earthquake hit the high desert east of Kern County, causing the most damage in Ridgecrest and the nearby town of Trona. The next day, a 7.1 earthquake in the same area was felt from Bakersfield all the way to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, causing the foul poles to sway in the bottom of the fourth inning. Friday’s quake was five points larger than the 6.7 earthquake in Northridge in 1994, and two points larger than the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco. It’s also the largest quake to hit the Central Valley since 1952, when a 7.3 quake along the White Wolf Fault destroyed buildings in downtown Bakersfield and parts of Kern County. Thursday’s quake was the largest in California since the Hector Mine quake in the Mojave Desert in 1999. For more information, Wikipedia provides a list of California earthquakes dating back to 1812.

Cerro Coso College, our sister school in the Kern Community College District, had to close on Monday due to damage caused by the earthquakes. Check out the article by Natalie Dorrell in the Ridgecrest Daily Independent. Computers, books, and file cabinets were knocked over throughout the campus, and several buildings experienced ceiling and drywall damage. Luckily, the campus was closed on Thursday and Friday for the Fourth of July weekend, and no injuries have been reported. The campus will remain closed until structural safety of the buildings has been confirmed, according to the article. Cerro Coso’s emergency team led by President Jill Board and Vice President of Administrative Services, Lisa Couch, did a remarkable job handling this situation.

A trip down memory lane — Guided Pathways at BC

BC is everywhere!  A few weeks ago, Lesley Bonds visited with third year students in CSUB’s educational leadership doctoral program to discuss guided pathways.  Dr. Manny Mourzanos teaches the class on Saturdays and two BC faculty are students – Jamal Wright (History) and Savanna Andrasian (English).  In preparing for the discussion, Lesley went back in time to revisit our early steps in implementing the guided pathways framework and traced the work to present day.  Here is a fun photo history of some of the work since fall 2015:

Lesley Bonds witht CSUB doctoral students July 2019
AACC Institute #1 Feb 2015. Kimberly Bligh, Sonya Christian, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Lesley Bonds, Zav Dadabhoy
Student Panel Fall 2015 on Redesigning America’s Community Colleges
Sonya Christian, Connie Conway
Guided Pathways Opening Day. Jennifer JOhnson, Michelle Pena, Reggie Bolton
Guided Pathways Opening Day. David Moton, Mark Staller, Nicky Damania, Paula Parks
Student Leaders
Sonya Christian, Kay McClenney, Davis Jenkins

New Student Orientation

The BC Outreach department welcomed incoming Renegades at the New Student Orientation last Tuesday.

Presenters Jo Ann Acosta (left), Daron Mackey (middle), and Josie Guillen (right), Outreach Educational Advisors from the Outreach and School Relations department

This important orientation provides prospective incoming students with important information about student resources and services such as financial aid, educational advising, student employment and career services, and Disabled Student Programs & Services to assist them in their journey at Bakersfield College. Presenters also provide information about our educational opportunities, Career & Learning Pathways, certificates and degrees.

Guest speaker, Alysha Douglas, Outreach Advocate and Homeless Court Coordinator from the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc, GBLA

Our guest speaker, Alysha Douglas, Outreach Advocate and Homeless Court Coordinator from the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc, GBLA, provided information regarding community resources available to the homeless. 

Daron Mackey, Outreach Educational Advisors from the Outreach and School Relations department

Thank you Ashlea Ward, Josie Guillen, Daron Mackey, Jo Ann Acosta, Alysha Douglas and to all the faculty and staff for their dedication and commitment in providing future students with the information and resources at Bakersfield College and in the Bakersfield community.

Jo Ann Acosta, Outreach Educational Advisor from the Outreach and School Relations department

Rudy Salas Press Event Next Week

In a report released by 24/7 Wall St., LLC, a financial news and opinion company that writes about economic trends, the Bakersfield metro area was named #5—the fifth worst region hit by extreme poverty among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas by population. Researchers reviewed neighborhoods with poverty rates of at least 40%. In 2011 to 2017, the Bakersfield metro area’s concentrated poverty rate worsened, climbing from 26.4% to 27.1%. Those percentages reflect that more than 191,000 Bakersfield metro residents with income below the poverty line. Educational access plays a key role in changing the future of these residents, according to researchers.

“In most of these cities, residents of concentrated poverty neighborhoods are less than half as likely to be homeowners or have a college education and more than twice as likely to be unemployed as residents of neighborhoods with poverty rates below 40%.”

27/7 Wall St., LLC Report

Last week, I wrote about the $1 million in funds made available last year to Bakersfield College by Assemblymember Rudy Salas, funding that enabled BC to launch a variety of programs that directly improved the lives of rural residents in North Kern, providing them with education and support they need to improve their earning power. I also shared with you an article in the Bakersfield Californian regarding a new $1 million allocation that Assemblymember Rudy Salas secured from the 2019-2020 state budget for BC Workforce Development programs. 

This coming Monday, July 15 at 10:00 a.m., we will be thanking Assembly member Salas publicly for his support. I hope that you will be able to join me for this press event at Library on the Panorama Campus.

Horses At BC

Student hold horse that faces camera.

Every day I drive to work, I enter our beautiful Panorama Campus entrance that leads past the Agriculture Lab. Do you ever wonder what goes on there? You may know about the big sale at the beginning of the year of oranges grown at the Ag Lab, but there is much more. The Ag Lab also houses animals for our animal science courses. This summer I was pleased to see two honorary Renegades of the equine persuasion out in the pasture. 

Sass, a 15 year-old Quarter Horse, and Gus, a 5 year-old Paint, belong to Andrea Prise, BC adjunct faculty and alumna, and are staying at the Ag Lab for the summer as part of her Horse Production course. Horse Production (ANSC B10), a 3-unit course, requires 54 hours of lab work in addition to the 108 hours of lecture. Students learn about the equine industry, breed selection and development, nutrition, disease, preventative health, reproductive management, stabling alternatives and horsemanship. In the Ag Lab, they learn to handle, groom and care for the horses.

Horse looks at camera.

Most of the approximately 25 students enrolled in this class are working to accomplish their AS-T in Animal Science. They are on the pathway to work in the livestock care and maintenance industries. Industries such as the beef industry which generates $1.35 billion in revenue to California and the dairy industry which generates $21 billion in revenue. Horses are a valuable resource for many of these industries, as well as for racing and recreational uses. There are approximately 700,000 horses in California, generating tens of billions of dollars. BC provides a qualified, trained workforce for this essential part of the Ag industry. Locally, our Animal Science students have been hired by Mebane Ranches, Famoso Livestock, and Rancho Rio Stables, just to name a few.

Students walk 2 horses.

Did you know that Kern County is the NUMBER ONE agriculture county in the United States? Our students are the future of California agriculture. The hands-on instructional experience we provide helps students understand the complexity and requirements of livestock production. Almost all of the animals in the Ag Lab for the animal science courses are personal property of our devoted faculty, like Dr. Jim Selgrath who has provided horses and cattle from his working cattle ranch, and Professor Billy Barnes who provides the swine. We have also borrowed livestock from local ranches, such as Mebane Ranch. Some instruction is off-campus, such as Dr. James Mcenroe teaching Dairy Production and Sheep Production classes, where animals used for instruction are provided in collaboration with various community members.

Student pets horse.

While here, the horses are cared for by Andrea. During the fall and spring semesters when the pigs and cattle are here for the Swine Production and Beef Production courses, the animals are primarily cared for by the students. Tracy Lovelace is also a great help to the Ag department in feeding the animals. When the summer is over, Sass will return to his work as a roping horse at the feedlot and Gus will return to training.

Students put halters on horses.

I look forward to seeing the baby pigs in the fall that will be brought in for Swine Production. I would like to thank Andrea Prise, Dr. Jim Selgrath, Professor Bill Barnes, Dr. James Mcenroe, and all of the faculty that dedicate their time, knowledge and animals for BC students in their journey to successful careers that are such a large part of the Kern County economy.

6 students and Andrea stand with the two horses.

Ag Dual Enrollment Forum

Corny Rodriguez also sent these fun photos from the Ag Dual Enrollment Forum. The faculty who filled the room are passionate, talented, and  highly invested in helping Kern County’s students reach their goals. It was great to see Ag Chair Chris McCraw and Dual Enrollment Program Manager, Kylie Swanson in action presenting to these great faculty.

Parents looking at the Starting Dual Enrollment slide.
Chris and Kylie.
Parents in the audience.
More parents in the audience.

Star Party with Nick Strobel

Join Nick Strobel at The Park at River Walk tonight at sunset for the Kern Astronomical Society’s free public star party. Get directions and maps on the KAS website. In Nick’s invition in the Bakersfield Californian he explained they will be viewing the moon, Jupiter and Saturn “with globular clusters, planetary nebulae and other bright deep-sky objects included to round out the night”. Nick also wrote about the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Read the entire article here: 

Nick Strobel: Join us for a free star party before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Nick Strobel and Sonya Christian on train
Nick Strobel and Sonya Christian on Amtrak

BC SouthWest Construction Update

Gregg Byrd, Project Superintendent of SC Anderson Inc. sends us updates on construction for the new location for our BC Southwest center. This week they installed a water line to tie into an existing water line bringing both domestic and fire water to the site.

Large machine in the side of a hole next to the road.
Boring under Camino Media
Large crane lowering pipe into a very large hole.
Hoisting the Waterline
Waterline going into the casing
Pouring the curb and gutter

Gregg said, “The last picture is what happens when PG&E mismarks where their main power line is and we hit it. It took out power from Ming Av. To Stockdale Highway. Good thing is no one got hurt.”

Square hole with broken electric line.

Fun Photos: Mech Ag Renegade

Dean of Instruction, Corny Rodriguez shared this photo and some amazing news with me. Ignacio P was immediately hired when his internship finished. Renegades are making Kern County stronger with each degree, each certificate, each internship, and each skilled job.

Student and faculty working on machine part.

Athletics Update

Congrats to Tyson Hays and Gabby Lugo

A huge congrats to Renegade student athletes, Tyson Hays from men’s golf and Gabby Lugo from cross country/track & field for signing to continue their academic and athletic careers at the four-year level. Tyson will be headed to Hope International University and Gabby to Fresno State. Good luck to both of these Renegades and continued success!

Gabby Lugo Fresno State.
Tyson Hays Hope International University.

Memorial Stadium Turf Goes In

This week at Memorial Stadium the brand new field turf began to be laid. Our posts on social media about the event went viral with everyone excited to see the finished product! Make plans to join us this fall for football games. The first home game is Saturday, September 7th at 6pm vs. Mt. SAC. Season ticket information will be released soon so stay tuned. 

Stadium with clear stripes.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Fireworks, Family, and Fun — Happy 4th of July

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, July 6, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Celebrating Fourth of July

One of my favorite songs as we celebrate an American day. Let’s listen to the Peter, Paul and Mary version.

As summer settles in, Americans of every belief and background get together with their friends and family on the Fourth of July to celebrate freedom, to celebrate having been blessed to participate in the grand social contract of American democracy.

A time for swimming, barbecues, and of course, fireworks.

American flag with sparkler

In a letter to his wife Abigail dated July 3, 1776, John Adams declared that the signing of the Declaration of Independence taking place the next day “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary festival.”

Adams continued: “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with…bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more”.

Early celebrations included the firing of guns and cannons that evolved into our backyard celebrations and increasingly, large fireworks displays, like the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular which takes place each year over the Charles River. This year’s Boston Pops event featured an F-15 Eagle flyover by the 104th Fighter Wing from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts, and a performance by Queen Latifah.

A beautiful display was held in Bakersfield in the Spectrum Amphitheater at the Park at River Walk, coinciding with the Independence Day 5K Run and featuring live entertainment before the fireworks at 9 p.m. Other notable fireworks on July 4th included at the Petroleum Club in Bakersfield, and celebrations in Taft and Tehachapi. Firework displays at Wasco and Shafter were held on July 3rd, and at Lake Isabella on Saturday the 6th.

Bakersfield Californian features writer Kelly Ardis, a former Renegade Rip reporter, wrote about all of the planned July 4 activities in an article from June 26.

However you observed Independence Day, I hope it was wonderful — and safe . I can’t stress enough how proud I am to be an immigrant and citizen of this great country.

Rudy Salas secures $1 million for workforce development

As you may have seen in the media, Bakersfield College is once again the proud recipient of a $1 million allocation from the 2019-20 state budget to continue to grow our Rural Initiatives Program! We will be holding an official press event on Monday, July 15, but I couldn’t wait to share the news! I’d like to thank Assemblymember Rudy Salas for helping secure funding for BC’s workforce development programs where we prepare our students for steady, well-paying jobs upon graduation.

Assemblymember Rudy Salas was instrumental in BC receiving a $1 million allocation from the 2019-20 state budget for workforce development.

Read all about it in The Bakersfield Californian’s article.

One Year of Rural Initiative Funding

You may also recall that a year ago I wrote about a press event announcing an allocation of $1 million for Bakersfield College’s Rural Initiatives program thanks to the support of Assemblymember Rudy Salas.

That $1 million funding enabled BC to launch a variety of programs that directly improved the lives of rural residents, helped meet area workforce needs, and helped rural students build marketable skills. North Kern Career Technical Education (CTE) classes associated with the funding realized nearly 1,400 enrollments in a range of disciplines including: Agriculture, Electronics, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), Industrial Automation/Industrial Drawing, and Welding.

Rudy Salas, Sonya Christian

The new HVAC program, located on BC’s Delano Campus, realized 117 enrollments last year and saw students complete HVAC certificates, and one student earned an Associate in Science degree in just the first two semesters. In less than one year, program completers have the skills needed for a lucrative job market with entry-level earnings of 35,000 to $60,000 per year.

Rudy Salas

This is just the start. With the new funding secured due to support from Assemblyman Salas, Bakersfield College and its rural communities will continue to provide positive economic impact and opportunity for those seeking to improve their lives through education.

Here are a few pictures from the 2018 press event.

Assemblymember Rudy Salas presents check to BC students and faculty.
2018 Press Event
Assemblymember Salas with the CTE Team
Assemblymember Salas speaking at the 2018 Press Event
Sonya hugs Rudy Salas
Rudy Salas, Sonya Christian, Trustee Agbalog and a HVAC faculty breaking ground with red shovels.
Faculty, staff, Pres. Christians and honored guests dig with red shovels.
HVAC lab ground-breaking in Delano

Read about the 2018 press event in last year’s post and read about the HVAC Tech Program unveiling in Delano .

Summer Bridge

Jo Ellen Barnes sent me some pictures of her first time helping at Summer Bridge.  There were close to 60 incoming students who participated in the event.

Summer bridge students working in groups
Summer bridge students working in groups

Jo Ellen’s team made a poster that depicted going from high school to BC graduation, the possible roadblocks, and how BC can help resolve those roadblocks.  Their poster won first place, which included some cool BC swag.

Summer bridge poster

They also took part in a great team-building project after lunch. The Summer Bridge participants were grouped by major, then tasked with working together to build the highest tower. Here are some of the fun results!

Summer bridge students building tower with marshmallows and spaghetti
Summer bridge students building tower with marshmallows and spaghetti
Summer bridge students building tower with marshmallows and spaghetti
Summer bridge students building tower with marshmallows and spaghetti
Summer bridge students building tower with marshmallows and spaghetti

CTE Goes Online

While many think of a college being quiet, or even dormant during the summer, work at BC is in full swing, including faculty, staff and administrators laying the groundwork for another set of innovative projects that will launch this fall.  One of those projects is our CTE Goes Online grant program.

This $500,000 grant, which we received from the state in June, will fund the development of several fully-online Career and Technical Education programs, including the Health Navigator Certificate, and our Commercial Music Program.  When complete, these programs will use Open Educational Resources to provide low or no-cost books to students, and will leverage micro-credentials to help students connect with great jobs in the workforce.

Thank you Bill Moseley and Tony Cordova for working to make this project a reality!

Speaking with hands.
Bill Moseley
Speaking with microphone.
Anthony Cordova

BC Pathways Program Mapper

Have you experienced the  Pathways Program Mapper? I’ve mentioned this innovative web-based application in previous posts. Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, is working diligently with California Community Colleges, CSUs and Concentric Sky on this revolutionary way for students to map their education goals. Read all about it in my post Educational Systems and Intersegmental (ESIP) Task Force from March.  If you haven’t tried out the mapper, I’d like to showcase one of the programs mentioned above, Commercial Music.

The mapper begins with a description of the program and a short video.

Next, it give the student some learning outcomes.

The “Careers” section gives information on salary and growth opportunities in specific careers.

The program map is a flow chart of the courses at Bakersfield College. This interactive map has options, depending on the program, students can choose to tailor the map more toward their needs.

Students can also view the course map as a list and print it to take with them to discuss with a counselor.

Explore the pathways Program Mapper, it is a truly wonderful tool.

2019-2020 Bakersfield College E-catalog

BC’s commitment to assisting students reach their education goals is never ending. This year, our Catalog Team worked very hard to create a new electronic catalog or e-catalog. While we have provided electronic version of the catalog in PDF format for nearly 2 decades, we now have a true e-catalog in web format. 

Thank you Academic Tech Team for your work on the e-catalog

The e-catalog can be searched; it is interactive, and it has links throughout. This means students can immediately find their programs and courses and can go directly to further information by clicking links. One of the truly wonderful things is that each program has a link to its map in the Pathways Program Mapper. This gives our students the means to find all of the information that they need.

Aricia Leighton, Terri Goldstein, Nicky Damania, Sonya Christian

Best of all, this e-catalog pulls the program and course information directly from e-Lumen, our curriculum management system. E-Lumen manages our curriculum from draft through the approval process at the college, district and state levels to the approved version. Pretty high tech! Pretty cool!

This project was hard work and took a team of dedicated people to produce.  I would like to thank the Catalog Team: Billie Jo Rice, Vice President of Instruction, Jennifer Johnson, Nursing Department Chair, Edie Nelson, Academic Services Assistant, Linda Allday, Academic Services Assistant, Aricia Leighton, Web Content Editor, Erica Menchaca, Education Professor, Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, David Greenfield, Educational Media Design Specialist, Pamela Rivers, Academic Technology  and last, and definitely not least, Bill Moseley, Dean of Academic Technology, who worked tirelessly with e-Lumen and Concentric Sky on the programming to enable this to work. I encourage all of you to check out the 2019-2020 Bakersfield College e-catalog.

Craig Hayward Mark Osea Billie Jo Rice Jennifer Johnson
Craig Hayward, Mark Osea, Billie Jo Rice, Jennifer Johnson

In the News: Job Spot

The Members of the Job Spot Team including Endee Grijalva and Terrence Banks, BAS-Job Spot Site Coordinator, joined Aaron Pearlman from 29 Eyewitness News on their sunrise segment this past Wednesday morning. They had the opportunity to promote the multi-level services provided at the co-location of Bakersfield College, Bakersfield Adult School and America’s Job Center. In addition, the new Arvin transit route provides residents transportation directly to the location, eliminating barriers and creating educational accessibly! #AdultEd #ResourceHub #ExpandingOpportunity #ArvinTransit

on set.
Endee and Terrence
Fox58 Lunge studio.
Arvin transit schedule showing inclusion of the Bakersfield College and Job Spot.

Bakersfield Californian Staff

I’m still coping with the transitions at The Bakersfield Californian. I know I’m a champion of change… but I can be a creature of tradition when it comes to some things. The local Californian is one such thing. I was pleased to see these photos posted by John Harte on Facebook and I wanted to showcase them. Here’s to the Californian… which will always have a piece of my heart.

Bakersfield Californian staff
Bakersfield Californian staff in 2006.
Bakersfield Californian staff
Bakersfield Californian staff in 2009.
Bakersfield Californian staff
Bakersfield Californian staff

In the News: Incoming McFarland freshman…

Last week, I wrote about welcoming our first Cougar-Renegade Class of 2023. This week, Bakersfield Californian’s Gene Garaygordobil wrote a story on the amazing day for the incoming McFarland High School dual-enrolled students for The Delano Record. Read the full article Incoming McFarland freshman get a glimpse at Early College program.

Planet Panorama

Web Content Editor Earl Parsons shared some close-up photos he took of various locations around campus.  He edited them with the goal of making them look other-worldly.  Great photography, Earl! You’re a shooting star!

close up of hedge
close up of magenta flower
close up of concrete
close up of light fixture
close up of grass
close up of desert plants
close up of yellow flower
close up of tree bark
close up of plant with spider web
close up of mushroom
Sonya waving in front of fireworks.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever